Sunday, 9 November 2008


Julie Bindel wrote a fantastic piece in the Guardian yesterday. She argued that as a lesbian she 'no longer want[s] to be lumped in with a list of folk defined by 'odd' sexual practices. She notes with some flare, the evolution of the term 'LGBTQQI' (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer, Questioning and Intersex). On a personal level I have sympathy with her although I find any of the labels troublesome which I guess makes me queer (which is a sort of paradox in itself but that's quite enough for a Sunday morning...). On a political level, as I learnt at the recent LGBT lives conference, it does make a difference to the battle for equality. Trans rights are seen as having progressed further in Scotland than England & Wales due to their inclusion in LGB activism. The 'T' seems to make a big difference.

All this follows the Stonewall awards and the nomination of Julie Bindel for an award. According to Pink News: 'Activists from transsexual, transgender and queer organisations from London, Liverpool and Manchester held a noisy protest against "Stonewall's refusal to withdraw their nomination of Julie Bindel for Journalist of the Year, a journalist know for her anti-trans opinions and writings."'. The full list of awards can be viewed here.

For the protesters, Stonewall simply doesn't reflect their interests but then it doesn't really pretend to. It is focused around lesbians, gay me and bisexuals and as I've long argued I don't think it even does that particularly well. I wish they'd start sticking their neck out on the subject of public sex and then men who engage in it (whatever label they ascribe to themselves) but because that doesn't produce the same cosy images as civil partnerships I doubt they will do.

Yet for all of that, there is a real danger that the coalition that has enabled the progress that has been made on LGBT rights comes unstuck and that wouldn't help anyone. Like Bindel I don't like being lumped into this one group but I like the alternative even less.

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